Monday, July 22, 2019


FEAST OF THE HOLY PENITENT MARY MAGDALEN

Tobit, Chapter 2, Verse 8
My neighbors mocked me, saying: “Does he have no fear? Once before he was hunted, to be executed for this sort of deed, and he ran away; yet here he is again burying the dead!”

A righteous person cannot just ignore justice. Tobit must do the work the Lord has appointed him; hell, or high water.

Tobit[1]
  1. Within forty days, however, Sennacherib’s sons assassinated him.
  2. His successor appointed Ahiquar (Tobit’s nephew) over all the treasury accounts.
  3. Previously, Ahiquar had held the position of cupbearer in Sennacherib’s court.  So he had a long history of court service and was well-respected.
  4. Ahiquar’s name means “My divine brother is precious.”
  5. Because of his position, he was able to intercede on behalf of Tobit.
  6. Tobit was forgiven and allowed to come out of hiding.
  7. Later, when he and his family were about to celebrate the festival of Weeks/Pentecost, Tobit was filled with gratitude because they had so much food and saddened because so many others had little/none.
  8. He told his son to go out into the city and invite to dinner those who were homeless and poor.   In so doing, Tobit was trying to instill the same values into his son.
  9. Tobias came back with a report that another Jew was lying dead in the marketplace (obviously a public execution of sorts).
  10. Without hesitation, Tobit rose up from the table and grabbed the body and buried it.
Helping the Poor[2]

Righteous people have a professed interest in helping the poor. It is hard to find anyone who’s anti-poor. What matters are not platitudes— we’re all in favor of clean air, too—what counts are the kinds of policies we adopt. Good intentions matter, but not much: great damage has been done in the name of helping people. Hitler said his policies would save Western civilization. Stalin and Mao said they would create a utopia. They were all genocidal maniacs. If we want to help the poor, we should at least know who they are. Census data tell us that nearly all the poor in this country live in houses or apartments that are in good condition and aren’t overcrowded.

·         More than 80 percent of the poor own an air conditioner, two-thirds have cable TV, and half own a computer. Fully 96 percent of poor parents say their children were not hungry for even a single day in the past year. By any historical measure, there are practically no poor people left in America.
·         When we compare our “poor” to the poor in other nations today, we learn why I chose quotation marks to describe ours.
·         It would be wrong to conclude that we should therefore do nothing to help those who are not affluent. As Catholics, we have a moral obligation to help those in need.
·         At a minimum, our energy and dollars should be directed at those who can’t help themselves. As for able bodied persons who are not affluent, the most charitable thing we can do is to enable them to become self-reliant.
·         Champions of the poor who oppose school vouchers cannot be taken seriously; it is minority children in the inner city who suffer.
·         Fraud is rampant.

When my oldest daughter was a 12-year-old, I brought her to the office on “Bring Your Daughter to Workday” (this trendy idea didn’t last long). On our way to work, a man was standing next to a table with a huge jug; UHO was inscribed on it (United Homeless Organization). He asked us to give, but I refused. My daughter wanted to know why. When we got to my office, I explained my reasoning. I downloaded stories on my computer showing what a fraud UHO was. Caryn learned that virtually all the money went to the operators and the street hustlers. Three years ago, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (now governor) said, “UHO exploits the good intentions of people who thought their charitable donations were helping to fund services for the homeless. Instead, their donations go directly to UHO’s principals and workers, who abused the organization’s tax-exempt status to line their own pockets.” Some things never change. Over the summer, it was reported that those who live in New York City’s Caribbean neighborhoods are buying groceries with their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (food stamps for those on welfare) and sending them overseas. There are literally hundreds of 45-to-55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels that line the walls in virtually every Caribbean supermarket. The food is being shipped to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. But not all of it: some is being resold by rip-off artists.
Dishonesty is also rampant.

Bread for the World is a prominent liberal organization that collects donations for the alleged purpose of helping the poor. Not a dime pays for bread: All proceeds go to lobbyists who pressure politicians to spend more money on poverty programs. Back in the 1980s, celebrities organized a well-publicized campaign to help the poor. “Holding Hands Across America” garnered the support of legions of public figures (even the Reagans were roped into it). It raked in hundreds of millions. Unfortunately for the poor, two out of every three dollars raised was spent to pay for the bash. More recently, when a donor sent great New York pastrami sandwiches to the “Occupy Wall Street” gang, the pro-poor demonstrators told the homeless who asked for some to get lost. The soup was for the poor.

Helping the poor is a noble cause, but it can also become a fool’s errand.

·         We need to ask who the intended beneficiaries are, and what, if anything, can be expected of them in return.
·         We need to know how much of the money goes to administrative costs, and how much is spent on the target group.
·         We need to know if there is a face-to-face relationship between donors and recipients, or just a money transfer.
·         We need to know about fraud and dishonesty.

One of the great things about Mother Teresa is that she never sought the limelight. She simply went about her business helping the poor and comforting the sick and dying. It’s our good fortune that she was “discovered” and introduced to the world. She’s the proper role model, not those who stand on street corners asking for “spare change,” or white-collared professionals who manipulate public sentiment for self-serving reasons.


Feast of the Holy Penitent Mary Magdalen[3]

MARY MAGDALEN, a sister of Lazarus and of Martha, of Bethany, was a notorious sinner in Jerusalem. Moved by the preaching of Jesus, she did public penance. She went openly into the house of the Pharisee with whom Jesus was sitting at table, threw herself at His feet, anointed them with precious ointment, washed them with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. Jesus, knowing her contrite heart, forgave her, her sins (Luke vii. 37, 38), and from that time forward she became the most zealous and faithful of the women who were disciples of Our Lord. She followed Him, always ministered unto Him of her substance (Luke viii. 3), and when He died was standing under the cross.

Prayer. We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the intercession of blessed Mary Magdalen, at whose prayers Thou didst raise up again to life her brother Lazarus, who had been dead for four days.

EPISTLE. Cant. iii. 2-5; viii. 6, 7.

I will rise and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not. The watchmen who keep the city found me: Have you seen him whom my soul loveth? When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him: and I will not let him go till I bring him into my mother s house, and into the chamber of her that bore me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the harts of the fields, that you stir not up, nor awake my beloved till she please. Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death; jealousy as hard as hell; the lamps thereof are fire and flame. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing. The soul that, following the direction of the watchmen, that is, the priests, teachers, and rulers of the Church, seeks Jesus, He goes to meet, gives Himself up to, takes up His abode in, with all His love, with all His treasures. The soul which has found Christ for delight forgets all outward things, and no longer has love or joy but for and in Christ. How should it be otherwise? What can be wanting to him who truly possesses Christ? This love for Him Who loved us unto death shows itself by outward acts that are heroic. So, Mary Magdalen loved Jesus. Follow her example.

GOSPEL. Luke vii. 36-50.

At that time: One of the Pharisees desired Jesus to eat with him. And He went into the house of the Pharisee, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that He sat at meat in the Pharisee s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and standing be hind, at His feet, she began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. And the Pharisee, who had invited Him, seeing it, spoke within himself, saying: This man, if He were a prophet, would know surely wlio and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee. But he said: Master, say it. A certain creditor had two debtors, the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which, therefore, of the two loveth him most? Simon answering, said I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said to him: Thou hast judged rightly. And turning to the woman, He said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet; but she with tears hath washed My feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest Me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed My feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less. And He said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee. And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And He said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.

Magdalen, who had sinned openly, openly did penance. In like manner, he who has given public scandal must seek to make amends for it by public good example. Magdalen confessed her sins, says St. Ambrose, not with words, but with abundant tears of penitence. To tell her sins to Christ, the All-knowing, was not necessary but what a confession was there in the posture of humiliation, and in the tears that flowed from the contrite sinner. Would you obtain forgiveness? Confess with contrition, like Magdalen. The words, “Thy faith hath made thee safe,” denote a faith active as love. Faith and love are in truth never separated, for the only truly believes who also loves; and he only loves according to God’s will who believes in Him. Therefore, believe in truth, love, and show your love by earnest hatred of every sin, by flying from occasions of sin, by fighting against your passions, by change of your life, and by humble confession, and as true as God lives you will be saved, as was Magdalen the peace of God will enter into your heart.

Patron: Apothecaries; Casamicciola, Italy; contemplative life; contemplatives; converts; druggists; glove makers; hairdressers; hairstylists; penitent sinners; penitent women; people ridiculed for their piety; perfumeries; perfumers; pharmacists; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; tanners; women.


Novena of St. Ann[4]

Daily Prayer to Saint Ann

O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father, . . . Hail Mary . . .

O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death. Good St. Ann, intercede for me.

SIXTH DAY

Good St. Ann do not allow my soul, a masterpiece of God’s creative power, to be lost forever. Free my heart of pride, vanity, self-love. May I know myself as I really am and learn meekness and simplicity of heart.

God’s great love for me leaves me cold and unresponsive. I must reflect this love through works of mercy and charity toward my neighbor.

In your boundless charity, good St. Ann, help me to merit the glorious crown which is given to those who have fought the good fight against the world, the devil and the flesh. Assist me to preserve purity of heart and body. With Mary and her divine Son, protect me always.

I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         90 Days for our Nation, Total Consecration-Day 13
·         Ask for the Prayers and assistance of the Angels



[2]http://www.catholicleague.org/helping-the-poor/
[3]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
[4]Blessed Sacrament Fathers, ST. ANN’S SHRINE, Cleveland, Ohio


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